TIN HiFi T3 Plus - Defining Balance
The ever-ongoing battle for IEMs market share gets more and more competitive as we edge towards the end of 2021. TIN HiFi not wanting to be left out, presented us with the latest iteration of their T series lineup, the T3 Plus.
- I received my T3 Plus from HifiGo, offered at a very attractive price I couldn’t refuse. Me being a serial customer to their online shop. To reflect on their generosity, as usual I have agreed to write my impressions as how I see fit.
- I never use EQ in any of my audio equipment, ever
- I am already very familiar with TIN HiFi house sound, me being an avid user of their venerable P1 and P1 Plus magnetic planars, so this is actually my first TIN HiFi IEM that’s not a planar :D
- My T3 Plus has undergone well over 100 hours of daily usage with average time spent 3-4 hours per day prior to this article. When not used, I left it plugged in to my laptop to run on continuous loop of Pink Noise.
The Build & Wear
T3 Plus is a resin-based IEM with solid transparent shells. Beautifully crafted to look elegant as it is ergonomically comfortable. Notably smaller than most resin-based IEMs we have seen lately (probably due to them being multi drivers). For example, there’s a lot of resemblance of T3 Plus to my SeeAudio Bravery – especially with that textured ingrained design on the faceplate – the difference, Bravery is notably larger. T3 Plus housing a single Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) Dynamic Driver of 10mm (105db/32 Ohm).
End to end the entire packaging of T3 Plus is admirably neat and tasteful. The cable itself is quite modest with simple twist braid in black – nothing fanciful, yet to my eyes they looked so beautiful being spartan black.
- HiBy FC5 MQA (3.5mm & 4.4mm)
- Ovidius B1(3.5mm SE)
- CEntrance DACport HD(3.5mm SE)
- Lotoo PAW S2(4.4mm)
- VE MEGATRON
- Questyle M12 MQA (3.5mm SE)
- VE Run About Plus 5 (18V Amplifier)
- LG V50 ThinQ (Quad DAC 3.5mm & USB)
- Sony Xperia X Compact
- HiBy Music with USB Exclusive Mode (FLAC)
- Tidal Masters with USB Exclusive Mode
Tips & Cable Observation
I am quite pleased to find out that T3 Plus was already quite optimized out of the box. The stock cable beside looking great, seems to exhibit great synergy with the IEM itself. I only swapped the cable when I need to run on 4.4mm BAL.
Same goes for the tips, a very rare occasion of me being able to use the stock silicone tips (the red barrel version) without the need to pain myself with furious tips rolling like what I did with most other IEMs (especially the P1). Ultimately, I opted to swap in my personal favourite, the Misodiko MIX460 primarily due to my ears being so accustomed to the wear and feel of it. Otherwise, I would be happy to use the stock tips.
Timbre, Tonality & Dynamics
T3 Plus is a very well-tuned IEM, as simple as that. The timbre is decidedly more aligned towards organic natural – not exactly neutral, but well balanced to dwell between the region of being warm and bright. Slight emphasis on the lower frequencies, notably with pronounced Sub-Bass presence. Dynamics exhibiting great maturity and control with vibrancy – which means it is not as euphonic as some very exciting and lively sounding IEMs.
Tone wise, it is natural and very well-tuned throughout the entire sound spectrum. Instruments, vocals, percussions etc. all sounded proper and without any sign of artificial coloration. I would even say that this reminds me a lot of the tone and timbre of TForce Yuan Li, Etymotic ER2XR and SeeAudio Bravery – the other IEMs that I immensely enjoyed. Polished, natural, and very well-behaved dynamics.
This can be a bit tricky it seems. Mids as how I heard it, may sound a bit reserved on some songs – especially Rock/Metal/Indie recordings. However, with the likes of Diana Krall, Alison Krauss and Sinne Eeg, the Mids sounded as forward as how it was intended. Perhaps not as forward sounding as the Etymotic ER2XR or TIN HiFi P1 but amply spaced to remain present. Depending on the source as well, with Ovidius B1, Lotoo PAW S2, VE MEGATRON + RAP5, Avani and DACport HD, the mids sounded totally normal and realistic. However, with my LG V50 Quad DAC and Abigail, the Mids are not as pronounced, almost veering towards a very mild V curve sound signature – but then this is nitpicking.
Aside from the observation as noted above, the overall Mids resolution of T3 Plus is crisp and detailed. The imaging strong and convincing, even when at times the recordings may exhibit slight recessed presentation. Vocals regardless of male or female sounded natural without any hint of added warmth or glare. However, I would still say that for those preferring denser Mids perhaps could be better served with the other siblings of P1 or P1 Plus.
In tandem with the overall balanced signature of T3 Plus, Treble is tuned not to please outright Trebleheads. It is very well controlled with moderation. There’s enough Treble sparkle and air to keep it exciting, but not as splashy as some bright sounding IEMs (Heart Mirror, Beyerdynamic DT990 or BQEYZ Spring 1). Despite being not as bright, the details and texture is there, presented with subtle articulation that is soothing and very appealing for long hours listening. Perhaps being not as pronounced some may perceive, T3 Plus Treble being not as deeply extended, but it does. Treble micro details that I am hearing suggests that the extension is there and audible. Perhaps what I wish could have been done better was the Treble decays, T3 Plus opted for crisp and prompt tuning instead of smooth lingering decays, not something that bothers me much as I am just nitpicking here. I find enjoyment in crisp decays as well truth be told.
The strength of T3 Plus is the balance between Mid-Bass and Sub-Bass. Mid-Bass being amply commanding yet fast and well controlled – offering enough density and attack to keep things lively. Sub-Bass being deep and well textured, mild yet present seismic sensations where it is applicable. Notably for a natural sounding IEM, T3 Plus I consider as slightly tilted as Bass-rich. In comparison, it is actually similar to Moondrop Aria, and a bit more of Bass density versus TForce Yuan Li. Any which way, I think T3 Plus Bass will not be satisfying enough for Bassheads.
What I do like a lot about T3 is how “adaptive” it is to presenting Bass depending on the songs. With Hans Zimmer “Mombasa” and Massive Attack “Angel”, it was so very lively and groovy with deep and impactful Bass performances. And this is what wins it for me.
T3 Plus has wide and spacious soundstage, I mean some of the best soundstage I have heard so far for an IEM. This however depends on the source. With Abigail, DACport HD, HiBy FC5 and MEGATRON, the sense of space is actually quite amazing, wide as it is with great depth and height. I must admit not even TForce Yuan Li or SeeAudio Bravery can challenge T3 Plus on this segment. Not even Moondrop Aria (which was one of the widest I have owned so far). But worth to note that with Ovidius B1, Lotoo PAW S2 and Avani, it is not as wide. Instead, I get a more intimate imaging which is closer knit.
Overall Imaging and spatial positioning are crisp and clean. Not as clinically surgical like the top dogs but not too shabby at all. Layers separation is clean as well, making it easy to track individual instruments – cohesive and solid.
Speed wise, I am happy with how T3 Plus renders complex tracks. Deft handling with prompt responses throughout the frequency range. Be it very busy or outright speedy tracks, T3 Plus handles them all admirably.
Details handling is very admirable too. Macro and Micro details being presented with ample articulation and finesse. Basically, it means, T3 does not splash the details like the more technically inclined IEMs, the approach is yet again balanced presentation that is subtle.
This is my favourite subject as I am a strong believer in matching it right to strike synergy. T3 Plus will already be sounding great direct from the Phone out from my Quad DAC of LG V50. However notably, while the sound quality itself is quite satisfying, the soundstage is not as wide or spacious as how it should be. The same can be said of the pair of Avani and Abigail – T3 Plus already performing great with approx. 1 Vrms of driving power. Very efficient.
It must be noted though, that it seems to me T3 Plus only improve marginally with higher driving power between 2-4 Vrms. Sounding absolutely the best when paired with HiBy FC5 (4.4mm BAL 2 Vrms), Ovidius B1 (3.5mm SE 2 Vrms) and CEntrance DACport HD (3.5mm SE 4.1 Vrms). With the exceedingly powerful VE MEGATRON, it does not sound any different than it is when compared to DACport HD, indicating that T3 Plus has already reached max possible peak at the mark of 4 Vrms, Megatron and RAP5 being well over 4.7 Vrms.
TIN HiFi T3 Plus, in summary I would just say that I am truly impressed with the overall performance and quality delivery. As I have said so many times, balance is the strongest asset of T3 Plus. It is neither warm nor it is bright. T3 Plus is a very well-tuned IEM exhibiting great maturity. I would draw comparison that T3 Plus is very much similar to TForce Yuan Li, with an exception that Yuan Li being closer to neutral reference, T3 Plus being slightly Bass richer in contrast. Also, Yuan Li exhibit better scalability with more power, while T3 Plus maxed out at the mark of 4 Vrms.
Another comparison, with Moondrop Aria. To me Aria is a sweet but dark sounding IEM, T3 Plus offering a bit more transparency due to being not as dark or warm as Aria.
Ultimately, on its own, T3 Plus is assuredly an IEM that delivers great value at a very competitive price. It is an easy to wear unit that will work great with many sources. Not finicky at all (unlike the P1 and P1 Plus). And this convinced me that T3+ is true gem deserving full 5/5 rating.